Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Hot Water for Idaho Aquarium Operators

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 9:12 AM

idaho_aquarium.jpeg

Things went from bad to worse Tuesday for the owners and operators of the Idaho Aquarium.

On Feb. 21, Ammon Covino, 39, and 40-year-old Chris Conk were hauled into a federal courtroom, accused of illegally purchasing marine life. Covino is the aquarium's president and Conk is its secretary.

The aquarium is registered as a nonprofit organization with the Idaho secretary of state.

A Florida grand jury returned an indictment charging the two with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, alleging that Covino and Conk purchased four spotted eagle rays and two lemon sharks for approximately $6,300, and that the fish were allegedly harvested illegally and without a permit.

And now, federal agents said on the same day of the arrest, Covino's nephew—Peter Covino—called a Florida marine life business to cancel a marine life shipment to Boise, refund a credit card and erase all emails, text messages and other evidence.

Peter Covino was arrested Feb. 25 and charged with obstruction of justice. His uncle, Ammon Covino, has been hit with another charge, violating the terms of his pre-trial release.

The two Cavinos are expected to appear in a Boise federal courtroom today.

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